No one knows how long this iteration of the XFL will last, but the league has already proven that NFL owners are liars.
This week, the XFL announced the eight men who will be serving as head coaches when the league returns to the field. Four of them are Black. Hines Ward, Terrell Buckley, Reggie Barlow, and Rod Woodson will be joined by Wade Phillips, Bob Stoops, Anthony Becht, and Jim Haslett as the NFL and multiple franchises are being sued by Brian Flores, Steve Wilks, and Ray Horton for their racist and discriminatory hiring practices.
Somehow the XFL was able to find all these non-white coaches without having a “pipeline,” since that’s the thing general managers and owners always say they need in order to get familiar with Black coaches who almost certainly played in a league that’s approximately 70 percent Black.
“You put the Black people in front of them and they’re still not going to give them jobs, which is going to wind up being something else,” Bomani Jones explained on one of his recent podcast episodes. “But the ‘we need a pipeline’ (argument) implies that somehow that Black people who coach are literally invisible, and that you yourself are not capable of seeing a Black person and recognizing their capabilities. And if that’s the case, say it.”
There are only three Black coaches in the NFL with Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh (where Flores is a new assistant on this staff), Lovie Smith in Houston, and Todd Bowles in Tampa. New Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel’s name was left off the list because he identifies as a “human being” with a Black dad. Those were his words at his introductory press conference. Let’s respect his wishes.
Sadly, the number of Black coaches would be even lower if Bruce Arians didn’t recently step down and insist that his former defensive coordinator take over for him in Tampa, or if the Texans weren’t put in a bind when Flores’ lawsuit basically forced their hand into selecting Smith.
Check this out from ESPN:
“In the amended complaint, Flores’ attorneys write that on Feb. 4 it was widely reported that the Texans had narrowed their candidates for head coach down to Flores, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and Josh McCown. After it was announced that Gannon, who is white, was no longer in consideration, the decision was down to Flores or McCown, who also is white and does not have any NFL coaching experience.
The complaint states that the “Texans were rightfully concerned that if it hired Mr. McCown over Mr. Flores, it would bolster Mr. Flores’ allegations of systemic discrimination against Black candidates, particularly given that the team had just fired Black Head Coach David Culley after only one season. As such, later on the very same day that it was announced that the Texans had narrowed its search down to only two candidates, it also was announced that the team had decided to give an initial interview to its own Coach Culley’s Defensive Coordinator, Lovie Smith, for the Head Coach position.”
Ironically, the XFL is slated to return in February. That means it will kick off after the conclusion of the NFL season, which is the time of the year in which teams annually find ways not to hire Black men for head coaching vacancies.